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The 2nd district race had been expected to go to Barber, who worked for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) before she retired earlier this year to focus on her recovery. Barber won a special election to succeed her in June, and to many, he symbolized the former Congresswoman’s legacy of resilience — he was also among those injured during the January 2011 shootings at a constituent event in Tucson. And the district was made more Democratic in redistricting than it was when Barber won his special election victory over the summer.
Democrats added a pickup late today in Arizona’s 1st district, where former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) is headed back to Congress. Kirkpatrick was ousted from her seat in the Republican wave of 2010 by Rep. Paul Gosar (R). Gosar opted to run for re-election in the 4th district, skipping a rematch, and he won his race against Democrat Johnnie Robinson, 67 percent to 28 percent. The Associated Press called the race for Kirkpatrick over former state Sen. Jonathan Paton late this afternoon.
Back in Texas, Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) lost to state Rep. Peter Gallego (D), 50 percent to 46 percent, although Canseco had not conceded as of press time. Canseco came to office in the 2010 Republican wave, defeating then-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D). But in a more neutral environment, Canseco fell short.
In Oklahoma, there was no suspense the morning after, and the entire delegation will be Republican for only the second time in state history. In the only somewhat competitive race in the 2nd district, plumbing company owner Markwayne Mullin (R) beat former Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Wallace (D), 57 percent to 38 percent. The seat in the district known as “Little Dixie” had been held by moderate Democratic Rep. Dan Boren, who is retiring.